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Good For Kids
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The main visitor center is up to date and has a good overview film and a number of interesting exhibits.
Stones River National Battlefield
Closest available address
3501 Old Nashville Highway Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Park is open 8:00am-5:00pm
Best time to visit
Stone's River National Battlefield is a 700 acre park that preserves a small portion of the Civil War Battle of Stone's River. It was established in 1927. The park includes a modest 3 room museum and short auto tour with 6 stops. Stone’s River is in a rapidly growing area, and nearby development has changed the character of the land, diminishing the historical experience.
In December 1862 the Union cause seemed bleak in the wake of a crushing defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia. Under great pressure from the Federal government, the Union commander of troops in Nashville moved his forces south to engage a Confederate Army in Murfreesboro about 30 miles away. The Southern troops struck first at dawn with a devastating charge that overwhelmed the Union right flank. Attacks against the Union center and left generated intense fighting but little ground. A futile and suicidal Southern advance against massed Union artillery on the left ended the battle in the North’s favor. The Confederate Army then retreated and as a result lost most of middle Tennessee.
When a museum and movie are the best part of a battlefield experience, either the museum is topnotch or the rest of the park comes up short. The latter is the case here. The major shortcoming is the size of the park relative to the actual battle. Only 15% of the original battlefield has been preserved, so it’s difficult if not impossible to get a good perspective of the engagement. The best parts of the auto tour were stop 2 at the Slaughter Pen location, where fierce fighting took place and stop 6 at the McFadden Farm, where Confederates made a courageous but futile charge. The Hazen Monument at stop 5 is the oldest original Civil War monument in the US. The museum and short movie were both informative. The museum provided good insight on the battle including its prelude and aftermath. Three hours is adequate for a visit, but only major Civil War buffs will want to invest the time.
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Murfreesbo.. , TN
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